Katie Baldwin, “Places We Lived”
Artist: Katie Bladwin (Aurora, NY)
Title: Places We Lived (2011)
Medium/technique(s): Reduction woodblock and letterpress
Edition size: 5
Number of pages: 30
Dimensions, open: 8 x 21.5 x 2.5 inches
Dimensions, closed: 8 x 6 x 2.5 inches
My work and research investigate text, image, and the way in which narratives are built. My interest in language as text begins with the development of writing, the invention of the printed word, and the mechanization of typesetting in printing multiples. The ability to write and ultimately to print, allowed people to record their thoughts outside of their own heads— to put thoughts down on paper to be retrieved later. And yet today, our writing has become increasingly ephemeral. Thoughts are revealed as printed words. I use the process of monotype casting and hand set letterpress printing. My use of obsolete processes for printing text is driven by the contrast between the physical limitations of a job case and the infinite possibilities of arranging letters to make words, words to make sentences, sentences to tell stories.
“Whenever we make a work, now, I think we are aware that it is not just a book, painting, drawing, sculpture, but an argument about what a book, painting, drawing, sculpture or other aesthetic expression can be and might be in our times.” (Johanna Drucker, The State of the Book: A Conversation, p. 20) My process is a physical reminder of limitations, while serving as a direct response to the tactile act of making things. I am interested in making work by hand: blocks are carved, inked up and hand-pulled. My images utilize a compositional structure such as inverted point of view, as well as defiance of scale, proportions and time. In this way, the work challenges the unity of time by showing several moments at once. I reveal the interior and exterior of both man-made and natural environments. Mountains, rivers, cages, or bridges become the manufactured stages on which complex narratives play out.
I have been a parent for over 19 years, and over the years my daughter and I have lived in many, many places. This is a collection of five memories taken from the years 1995, 1999, 2001, 2007, and 2010. These memories specifically relate to places in which we lived.
I printed and bound these works at the Center for Book Arts during her residency as the Stien Family Scholar for advanced study in book arts from the fall of 2010 to the summer of 2011.
The images are made up of reduction woodblocks printed on a Charles Brand Etching Press. The type is handset and printed on a Vandercook No. 4.